|Checking out the "statues" in the Louvre|
But a lot of things are open! And some of the things that are open, are un-crowded, on account of all the people not coming to Paris (and all the Parisians being on holiday somewhere else). My husband and I took advantage of traveling with the grandparents and spent a kid-free evening at a bar I love, and it was the first time I've been there that I could sit wherever I wanted and not have to vacate in time for a reservation in an hour. (It was also not air-conditioned, which may have had something to do with that. But they made up for it in special icy cocktails.)
Which reminds me: it is hot. If you're used to Irish or English weather, it's seriously hot. I kept saying it was great to have another chance to wear all the summer outfits that don't really get much use at home, but even that wore a bit thin when we found ourselves walking the 45 minutes home from Notre Dame through 90-degree heat at the end of a long day. But the other times I've been, it's been cold and often rainy, so the heat was a nice change! And a good excuse to eat lots of ice cream.
Part II: Paris and Dijon
|Josephine would have happily come back to the playground|
in the Luxembourg Gardens every day of the trip.
I'll admit: I started to get a bit parent-judgy about how closely everyone seemed to be following their kids. I've only ever parented in Ireland, and the playground approach here is pretty hands-off once kids hit three or so. But even the little-kid area of the Luxembourg playground (appropriate for up to age seven) has a lot of opportunities for a kid to bite off more than she can chew, climbing-and-sliding-wise, or even to wander off and hide; and before I knew it I was following along right behind my perfectly-capable three-year-old, too.
|"We got wet! Daddy got really wet."|
Another interesting discovery: the Louvre will let you skip the line if you have a child in a pushchair with you. We joined the queue snaking around the courtyard in full sun, and no sooner had we opened our mouths to discuss maybe finding something else to do with our Friday morning, than a helpful official-looking person with a walkie-talkie ran over and said, "your entrance is over there." There was no line, and there was a platform-style lift to take us down to the ticket area--where another nice official-looking person pointed us to the shortest ticket queue. After that, we really had no choice but to let our pushchair-rider decide that all we were going to do that morning was look at statues; it was clearly her museum trip. I haven't felt so pampered since visiting Versailles when I was seven months pregnant (and also not allowed to wait in any queues).
|Des fraises, des tomates, du pain, des abricots, du fromage,|
les saucisses, les prunes--et la champagne, bien sur!
I will cop to having often felt surrounded by tourists on this Paris trip. This led to the one disadvantage of visiting in August versus, say, January: everyone's thinking in English. In January people I meet are, on average, happy to let me stumble through my school-French for the length of our interaction; in August they just switch to English. Heck, a lot of the time they start out in English. If you're hoping to practice your French, maybe don't go to Paris in August.
|Once she got the hang of it, the bungie-trampoline |
combination was the hit of the fair.